Q: My cat always wants to go outside, but I’m worried about him jumping the fence, getting hurt or injuring wildlife. How can I safely give my cat what he needs in my home?
A: Who doesn’t enjoy the great outdoors? As humans, our primary environment is our home, but for cats, their primal preference is for the outdoors where they can experience fresh air and the sights, sounds and stimulation of the natural world.
By employing some feng shui principles, you can create a balanced, stimulating environment for both your cat and everyone else.
Feng shui is the Chinese art of placement, a design system that creates harmonious living spaces based on “chi” energy — the life force that feng shui practitioners believe exists in all things, animate and inanimate. Pets add positive energy to our homes and lives — and cats, in particular, are highly sensitive to their surroundings. By creating positive chi for your cat, you’re really creating it for your whole family.
Here are a few feng shui-friendly tips for creating a positive space for your cat.
Find a welcoming power spot. Power spots for cats (and their humans) are located outside the direct path entering a room. Cats want a wall that provides support from behind and a commanding view of their territory. Choose and place cat furniture — high cat trees, low dome shelters or boxes — along that wall based on your feline’s comfort zone. This will likely become your cat’s favorite hangout.
Create a catio. Catios, also known as “cat patios,” are safe outdoor havens that come in a variety of styles and sizes. They keep cats safe, protect birds and wildlife, and solve the indoor/outdoor dilemma many cat parents face. They help bring harmony to your home, resulting in happier family members and happier cats. Sites such as Catio Spaces sell them in a variety of designs.
Choose a serene feeding area. In the kitchen or feeding area, avoid placing the food bowl where there is a lot of human and other animal traffic as it can startle your cat and upset their digestion when eating. Keep feeding spots indoors as leaving it outdoors can attract unwanted critters.
Provide a Zen space to relax. Feng shui practitioners hold that chi energy is both yin (restful) and yang (stimulating). A home needs both for the right balance. Give your cat a cozy bed or hammock in a quiet room or Zen space for a catnap away from disturbances such as loud noises, remodeling projects, vacuum cleaners or unfamiliar people.
Stimulate yang energy indoors. Stimulate yang energy for your cat with daily playtime and a shelf near a window that offers the warmth of the sun and birdwatching opportunities. You can also build a DIY catio for a specific window to allow your cat to safely venture outdoors.
Be mindful of litter box placement and odors. Bathrooms can be a convenient place for the litter box, but if the door is left open it can negatively impact the household. Other litter box locations may include a catio or a laundry room where the litter box is out of direct view, camouflaged with cat-safe plants or located inside furniture. Keep indoor air fresh with an air purifier or by opening well-screened windows.
Consider water fountains. The flow and sound of a water fountain creates a sense of vitality and enhances the energy of a home. To adhere to feng shui principles, consider adding a drinking water fountain for your cat in the north or southeast area of your home, away from your cat’s food bowl. Keep the water clean to avoid stagnant water and adjust levels to create a pleasant sound. Avoid a dripping faucet for your cat to play with — leaking water is wasteful, bad for chi and a potential hazard.
Create a balance of human and feline-friendly decor. A harmonious home for your cat is clean, clutter-free, feline-friendly, and provides a consistent routine and sense of security while meeting basic needs. Control cat hair on furniture with a blanket or throw that can be removed before guests arrive. Choose cat decor in colors and styles that complement your home.
Daily “together time” is essential. Whether you play, pet or train, daily interaction is essential for human and feline bonding. It also helps keep your cat stimulated and happy while reducing unwanted behaviors and stress.
Remember, your personal energy affects both your cat and your home’s energy. Keep your own life in balance with good self-care while watching over your beloved feline family members.
Cynthia Chomos is a feng shui consultant and founder-designer at Seattle’s Catio Spaces, a member of the Master Builders Association of King and Snohomish Counties (MBAKS). If you have a home improvement, remodeling or residential homebuilding question you’d like answered by one of MBAKS’s more than 2,700 members, write to firstname.lastname@example.org.